You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2012.

Cajun Pot Roast

This is another recipe from Justin Wilson. It’s prepared in a Reynolds oven bag. You can buy any size chuck roast that you like. My husband and I are still empty-nesting so the pictures illustrate a very small 2-lb roast, with a couple potatoes, handful of carrots and mushrooms. For such a small dinner you may use a large oven bag, but if your roast and all the fixins added up to 8 or more pounds, then you’d want to use a turkey-size bag. Justin Wilson’s recipes often call for wine. I used red wine (Beaujolais) today because it was what I had on hand. I’ve made this recipe for many years and it’s the first time I used red wine instead of white. Turned out just fine, very tasty.

According to the oven bag directions, add 2 Tbsp. flour to the bag and shake it around.

Cut slits in each side of the roast

and stuff the slits with pieces of green onion and sliced garlic.

Lightly sprinkle the roast with cayenne (red pepper).

Place roast into the bag.

Inside the bag, beside and atop the roast, add potatoes, carrots, and whole mushrooms (enough for the number of people you will serve).

Stir 2 Tbsp. Worchestershire sauce into 1 cup white wine and pour it into the bag. Seal the bag with the enclosed tie. Cut about a dozen small slits in the top of the bag to let off steam. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 3 hours.

Remove the roast

and vegetables from the bag to a platter.

Make gravy by pouring the juice out of the bag into a saucepan. Add beef broth until the amount seems enough and salt to taste. Stir cornstarch into cold broth or water and stir until dissolved. Bring gravy juices to a boil in the saucepan and then stir in the cornstarch-broth mixture until gravy is thickened.

I like to mash my serving of potato and cover with gravy. Horseradish sauce is a great condiment for the pot roast . . . or more gravy. It’s all good!

What you’ll need for Cajun Pot Roast

Reynolds oven bag, either large or turkey size

2 Tbsp. flour

Beef chuck roast

2 green onions (scallions)

1 garlic clove, sliced

Cayenne (red) pepper

Pototoes

Carrots

Whole mushrooms

1 cup white wine (Sauterne)

2 Tbsp. Worchestershire sauce

Beef broth (for gravy)

Cornstarch mixed with a little beef broth or water (to thicken gravy)

Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes

It’s getting to be sweet potato season, I guess. Here is another recipe that calls for sweet potatoes in a savory, not sweet, dish.

Heat 2 Tbsp. butter in a deep skillet. Brown 6 pork chops on both sides (this time I used four boneless pork chops, but loin or rib chops are fine and the amounts are easily adjusted). Season with salt and pepper.

Place about a teaspoon of ketchup on each chop. Cover and cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes.

Peel and halve 6 medium sweet potatoes (I used 3 fairly large ones and I cut them into large chunks). Remove chops from skillet; add ¾ cup water. Place potatoes in skillet. Turn to coat with liquid. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Pour about ½ cup ketchup over potatoes.

Top potatoes with chops.

Cover and cook over low heat for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are soft and chops are tender.

To serve, spoon sauce over potatoes and chops. Yield 6 servings.

Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes Recipe

2 Tbsp. butter

6 pork chops

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup ketchup

6 medium sweet potatoes

¾ cup water

Heat 2 Tbsp. butter in a deep skillet. Brown 6 pork chops on both sides. Season with salt and pepper. Place about a teaspoon of ketchup on each chop. Cover and cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes. Peel and halve 6 medium sweet potatoes. Remove chops from skillet; add ¾ cup water. Place potatoes in skillet. Turn to coat with liquid. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour about ½ cup ketchup over potatoes. Top potatoes with chops. Cover and cook over low heat for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are soft and chops are tender. To serve, spoon sauce over potatoes and chops. Yield 6 servings.

Eggplant Parmesan

I know, I know, it’s another Parmesan recipe. And mine are all pretty much the same. I’m including this one because of the eggplant. It’s an easy dish. There is no salting and draining. You can reduce the ingredient amounts and use a smaller baking dish in order to serve fewer people. It’s simple to make adjustments.

Beat three eggs with 3-4 Tbsp. of water in a flat-bottomed pan, like the pie plate pictured here.

Scoop flour (about a cup) into a flat-bottomed pan like the pie plate pictured here.

Slice two medium eggplants lengthwise into apx. 1/4″ slices. (I used one large eggplant.)

Coat a griddle or large skillet with olive oil and heat on medium high.

Dredge a slice of eggplant through the flour, coating each side of eggplant.

Immerse eggplant slice in egg mixture.

Make sure each side of eggplant is covered with egg mixture.

Move the eggplant slice to the hot griddle.

Turn over once browned. Continue browning eggplant slices, adding olive oil as needed.

Once browned and softened, remove the eggplant slices to a paper-towel-lined plate. Stack the slices in layers on paper towels (to absorb extra oil). Let cool.

I use the whole eggplant, even with the peel on it. It doesn’t matter. As you can see, my slices are not uniform either. It really doesn’t matter.

In the meantime, while the eggplant slices are cooking, fry about a pound of Italian sausage. If you’re serving vegetarians you may skip this step.

Once the sausage is browned, add a jar of pasta sauce (about 24 ounces). I rinse the jar with red wine. Simmer until it is very thick.

Slice about a pound of mozzarella cheese. I like to use fresh mozzarella and this was only 12 ounces, but it was quite enough. I’ve also used shredded Mozzarella, it all works.

In a 9 x 13″ greased baking dish, layer 1/2 of the eggplant slices to cover the bottom of the dish. Like I said earlier, if you want to use a smaller eggplant and less of the other ingredients you could use a 9 x 9″ pan or smaller. This is really not fussy.

Layer 1/2 of the pasta sauce and 1/2 of the Mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with a bit of grated or shredded Parmesan cheese.

Layer the remaining eggplant slices on top.

Finish up with the remaining sauce and Mozzarella. Sprinkle the top with about 1/2 cup of grated or shredded Parmesan.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Serves about 6 people.

I served this with shrimp salad and garlic bread. Delicious!

Dutch Apple Pie

Yesterday we picked apples at an orchard down the hill from where I live. The type is called Lodi. The largest ones were as big as tennis balls. This is Alaska after all, the growing season is too short for that type of fruit. Normally, I would peel 5 or 6 Granny Smiths in order to make this sublime Dutch Apple Pie, but because these apples were so small I only cored them. I think it will be fine with the peel on. Another confession: I cannot make a pie crust from scratch. I have tried many times and never succeeded. So, I always use the kind found in the refrigerated section at the store, the ones that need to be unrolled. Terrible cheating, I know. What makes it a “Dutch” apple pie? It’s the cream added at the end. Oh, yummy! This recipe is based upon one found online at Teri’s Kitchen.

8 cups pared, sliced tart baking apples (about 3#)

Like I said above, usually I would peel the apples, but these were so small that I didn’t. You will need to use a very, very large bowl.

Combine 1 cup sugar, 2 Tbsp. flour, 1 tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. nutmeg, ¼ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. grated lemon peel, 2 to 3 tsp. fresh lemon juice with the apples in the large bowl.

Place bottom crust into 9″ pie plate. Note my pie plate is a little big, but it works well, no problem.

Place the apple mixture into the bottom crust.

Dot with 2 Tbsp. butter.

Cut slits in top crust.

Make an egg wash by mixing 1 egg yolk with 1 Tbsp. water.

Place crust on top of apples and crimp with bottom crust to seal. Brush top crust with egg wash. It makes a beautiful shiny brown color when finished.

Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and enlarge slits as needed.

Pour 1/2 cup heavy cream into the slits. You may find it helpful to stick a knife into the opening and then pour the cream along the knife. It’s a little less messy. This is how my dad taught me to add oil to my motorcycle. Just a useful little tidbit of information.

Pop it back into the oven and bake an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool on rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Dutch Apple Pie

Makes one 9” pie

8 cups pared, sliced tart baking apples (about 3#)

1 cup sugar

2 Tbsp. flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg

¼ tsp. salt

½ tsp. grated lemon peel

2 to 3 tsp. fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp. butter

Pastry for a 9” double-crust pie

1 egg yolk

1 Tbsp. water

½ cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place crust in 9” pie plate. Combine apple slices, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, lemon peel, and lemon juice in large bowl. Turn into pie plate. Dot with butter. Cut slits in top crust and then place crust on top of apples and crimp with bottom crust to seal. Brush top crust with egg yolk mixed with 1 Tbsp. water. Bake on bottom rack of oven for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and enlarge slits as needed and pour cream into the slits. Bake an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I really like sweet potatoes except for canned sweet potatoes with copious amounts of sweetener added. The whole marshmallow topping thing is so unctuously sweet that . . . okay, enough of the trash talk. Here is what I like. I’ve used this recipe for many years and can’t remember where I originally got it, but just found it online at food.com. The recipe calls for fresh sweet potatoes (red yams) and very little sweetener. The pictures illustrate a smaller batch than is called for in the recipe, so use them as a guide on how to do it, but use the recipe for the amounts. I served the dish with shrimp salad, corn muffins, and pork roast that had been slowly baked in mango salsa. A couple days later I took the leftover pork and sweet potatoes, added grated cheese and refried beans and rolled it all up into tortillas for tasty burritos. Two days worth of good eats!

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled

Cut into 1” cubes (about 6 cups)

In a large resealable plastic bag, toss sweet potatoes and 2 Tbsp. olive oil.

Add 2 Tbsp. brown sugar, 1 tsp. chili powder, ½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. cayenne and toss to coat.

Transfer to a greased 11×7” baking dish.

Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender, stirring every 15 minutes. Yield 8 servings.

Spicy Sweet Potatoes Recipe

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” cubes (about 6 cups)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. chili powder

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. cayenne

In a large resealable plastic bag, toss sweet potatoes and oil. Add remaining ingredients; toss to coat. Transfer to a greased 11×7” baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender, stirring every 15 minutes. Yield 8 servings.